Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter? Is It Safe, Good or Bad?

can dogs eat peanut butter

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Can dogs eat peanut butter? The answer is not that simple.

Just because peanut butter is xylitol-free doesn’t mean it’s good for your dog. Even dog-friendly peanut butter contains ingredients that have been linked to heart disease and obesity. There’s no doubt most dogs love this sticky snack. But is peanut butter good for dogs?

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about dogs and peanut butter, including the best peanut butter for dogs, how much they can eat, benefits, risks, and everything in between. Let’s get started!

Is Peanut Butter Good For Dogs?

Peanut butter can be good for dogs as long as it’s dog-friendly peanut butter or is made of safe ingredients. Peanut butter can be a good source of protein for your pup and also contains heart-healthy fats, vitamin B, niacin, and vitamin E.

However, this may not apply to many commercial brands of peanut butter that contain various added ingredients, such as sugar, additives, vegetable oils, and even trans fats. For peanut butter to be good for your dog, you need to make sure it adheres to the following recommendations by professionals.

Dr. Susan Wynn, a veterinary nutritionist and specialist in integrative medicine with BluePearl Georgia Veterinary Specialists, says, “if you are going [to give peanut butter to your dog], it should only have peanuts, salt, and maybe sugar. Make sure it doesn’t have Xylitol.”

Xylitol is not the only common toxic ingredient found in commercial peanut butter you need to watch out for. Before explaining what those ingredients are, learn about the four types of peanut butter you are most likely to encounter when shopping for this sticky snack.

What Kind of Peanut Butter Is Good For Dogs?

These are the four most common types of peanut butter options for dogs.

  • Commercial peanut butter: This is the regular peanut butter you can find at almost any grocery store (i.e., Jif Peanut Butter)
  • Natural (organic): This peanut butter contains just peanuts. Unlike regular commercial PB, most organic peanut butter tends to be preservative-free, sugar-free, salt-free, and non-GMO, with no palm fruit oil or junk.
  • Dog-friendly peanut butter: This peanut butter is made specifically for dogs. Peanut butter for dog brands will not use harmful ingredients for dogs. No hydrogenated oil, palm oil, high fructose corn syrup, stabilizers, xylitol, added sugar, or salt—just paw-some delicious peanut butter for a good-licking time for your four-legged friends.
  • Homemade peanut butter: This peanut butter is made at home by grinding peanuts.

Peanut Butter Safe For Dogs

What type of peanut butter is the safest and healthiest for dogs?

You want your dog’s peanut butter to be as natural as possible with the least amount of additives, preservatives, and chemicals.

IngredientsRegular Commercial
Natural (Organic)Dog-FriendlyHomemade
Mono & Diglycerides
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils
Depends on the brand
Natural oil (palm oil)Depends on the brand

Are Peanut Butter Ingredients Safe For Dogs? Toxic?

Added ingredients in peanut butter can cause unwanted side effects.

We’ve broken down the most common ingredients in regular commercial peanut butter, so you know which ingredients to watch for next time you shop for a peanut butter jar for your furry friend.

Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Peanuts. Plain peanut butter is perfectly safe for dogs as long as you are: (i) making homemade peanut butter for your pooch by turning raw peanuts into a paste. (ii) If the brand of peanut butter you are feeding your pup only has peanuts listed as the only ingredient. Peanuts can be a good source of protein, carbs, and healthy fat for your dog — in moderation. Observational studies indicate that eating peanuts may protect against heart disease.
  • Sugars. Sugars are usually found in peanut butter in different forms, such as sucrose caramel, corn syrup molasses, and even the deadly sweetener known as Xylitol. While sugars may not pose an immediate health threat to dogs, constant consumption can increase dogs’ risk of developing obesity, food allergies, diabetes and even promote yeast, bacteria, and parasite growth the more your dog eats it. Bottom line: Any added sugar has no place in a healthy pet’s diet.
  • Mono & Diglycerides. Food manufacturers typically use monoglycerides and diglycerides (forms of fatty acids) to improve texture stability and extend a product’s shelf life. These fatty acids prevent the oil in peanut butter from separating. While a chronic dietary toxicity study of DAG (diacylglycerol) in Beagle dogs showed no effect on normal canine growth and development, it’s not an ideal ingredient to feed dogs and may lead to obesity and heart problems.[1] It’s best to limit the intake or avoid it as there is no way of knowing how much trans fats are in products with mono and diglycerides. Food products with mono- and diglycerides are also likely to be high in other fats, refined sugar and flour.
  • Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Trans Fats). If you see hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils listed as one of the ingredients on the peanut butter brand you are thinking about giving Fido, leave it on the shelf! Peanut butter alone already has a high-fat content. However, some commercial peanut butter brands add Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (or trans fats). Hydrogenation is the process that turns liquid unsaturated fat into trans fats. So, what does this mean for your dog when he eats peanut butter with this ingredient? Trans fat is considered the worst type of fat your dog can eat. Trans fat also is known as trans-fatty acids. It raises your dog’s “bad” cholesterol and lowers his “good” cholesterol. John Bauer, DVM, Ph.D., DACVN, says saturated fats (and possibly trans fats) may cause modest increases in blood cholesterol concentrations in dogs.[2]
  • Salt. Sodium is an essential mineral in the balanced diet of every dog. Small amounts of salt aren’t bad for your dog. Too much salt in dog food may lead to “salt poisoning,” and it can cause dehydration, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Palm Oil. While palm oil is not toxic to dogs, it can cause intestinal issues for some of our furry friends. The use of palm oil has also caused environmental controversy problems, so as animal lovers, we don’t support anything that harms other animals.[3] According to WebMD, palm oil contains fat that can increase cholesterol levels. Vets Now also report that this oil has a laxative effect that can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and, in extreme cases, pancreatitis.

Dog Peanut Butter & Xylitol

The one peanut butter ingredient your dog should avoid at all costs is “Xylitol.” Xylitol is a common sugar substitute in many items, including toothpaste, gum, and peanut butter. While Xylitol is safe for people, it can be deadly to dogs. [There are currently five known peanut butter manufacturers adding xylitol to their products.

According to Korinn Saker, associate professor of nutrition at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine,

Xylitol is toxic to dogs because, once consumed, it stimulates the pancreas to release insulin. The surge of insulin into the dog’s bloodstream causes hypoglycemia, a profound drop in blood sugar levels that, in turn, results in weakness, disorientation, tremors, and potential seizures.[4]

Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening if untreated. When a dog consumes xylitol, insulin is rapidly released, which can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar. At higher doses, it can also cause acute liver failure.

What Peanut Butter Brands Have Xylitol? 

These are known peanut butter brands containing xylitol, which you should avoid when shopping for peanut butter for dogs.

  • Go Nuts
  • Hank’s Protein Plus Peanut Butter
  • Krush Nutrition
  • Nuts ‘n More
  • P28

More may spring up, so always read the labels carefully. The letters “XYL” are a synonym for xylitol.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center recommends being on the lookout for the combination of the letters “XYZ” in any ingredient found in peanut butter or other foods you are thinking about feeding your dog.

According to the ASPCA, here is a list of a few xylitol-derived words you should avoid:

  • 1,4-anhydro-d-xylitol
  • Anhydroxylitol
  • Birch bark extract
  • Birch sugar
  • D-xylitol
  • Xylite
  • Xylitylglucoside
  • Zylatol

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

Yes, dogs can eat peanut butter only if your peanut butter of choice meets the following criteria.

  1. Your dog’s peanut butter is xylitol-free.
  2. No artificial sweeteners or sugars (sucrose caramel, corn syrup molasses)
  3. It’s free from mono and diglycerides
  4. It’s free from hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats)
  5. Free from palm oil

If your dog’s peanut butter contains one or more of the above ingredients, switching brands is best to keep Fido safe.

Don’t be fooled by a label that says “natural” or “organic.” These so-called healthier peanut butter alternative brands can also contain these undesired ingredients.

Peanut Butter Dogs Can Eat

The ideal peanut butter for dogs should contain only peanuts. However, a little salt or sugar may also be acceptable and safe. The healthiest option is unsalted (no sugar) homemade peanut butter. Unfortunately, not every dog parent has the time to make peanut butter at home.

Dr. Wynn says the best alternative is to give peanut butter treats marketed explicitly for dogs. Wynn says those products are “generally okay because animal nutritionists formulate them.”

Fortunately, plenty of dog-friendly, store-bought peanut butter brands are safe and free from all those unwanted ingredients we mentioned before.

Health Benefits of Dog Peanut Butter

Is peanut butter healthy for dogs? According to pet insurance company Trupanion, most peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat and is an excellent source of:

  • Protein
  • Vitamin E
  • Heart-healthy fats
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)

While this tasty treat can benefit your dog, moderation is key.

Is Peanut Butter Bad For Dogs?

Peanut butter in excess can be bad. Too much peanut butter can result in pancreatitis and obesity.

To prevent the adverse side effects of peanut butter, limit the amount of peanut butter you give your dog by following our feeding guidelines. Also, stick to following our recommendations for picking peanut butter for dogs. If your dog is crazy about peanut butter, they can eat it in moderation as long as you carefully check the ingredients and run it by your veterinarian first.

Aside from those unwanted ingredients in peanut butter for dogs, you should be aware of potentially dangerous essential aspects of this popular spread.

  • Aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are one of the most carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances. And guess what? Peanuts have them! Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring peanut substance that can never be reduced to “zero.” Healthline reports that processing peanuts into peanut butter reduces aflatoxins’ levels9%. Af atoxin, however, does not form in peanut butter once it is packed in containers, so if the production process is safe, then the final product will be too when it reaches the consumer, the National Peanut Board reports.[5]

    So, should you worry about aflatoxins in your dog’s peanut butter? Yes and no. If you buy peanuts (or peanut butter) from reputable grocery stores or peanut growers, being exposed to aflatoxin in American peanut products is very low. The FDA and the USDA monitor the amounts of aflatoxins in peanuts and ensure they don’t exceed recommended limits. Conversely, you should worry and avoid buying peanut butter or peanut from untrusted sources with minimal or non-existent government-enforced production and regulation to ensure that aflatoxin risk is minimized in human and animal food. If you were thinking about using some peanuts you bought at a local flea market to make that homemade peanut butter for your dog, think again. Research shows that aflatoxin causes liver cancer in laboratory animals and is a risk for your dog.[6]

    A study by the Consumers Union revealed the toxin levels of aflatoxin in peanut butter varied from brand to brand Popular brands like Peter Pan, Jif, and Skippy had the lowest levels In contrast, the highest levels were in the peanut butter that’s ground fresh in health food stores These findings sound contradictory, but this may be because “natural” or “organic” peanut butter is less processed than traditional commercial peanut butter.
  • Glyphosate It’s common practice for peanut farmers to spray GMO crops with Roundup and other herbicides to prevent weeds The problem is most of these herbicides have glyphosate as an active ingredient Glyphosate is dangerous for you, your dog, and other pets According to the National Pesticide Information Center, animals exposed to formulated glyphosate herbicides have displayed anorexia, lethargy, hypersalivation, vomiting, and diarrhea Symptoms persisted for 2 to 24 hours following exposure A recent study found that exposure can increase cancer risk by 41% The World Health Organization recognizes glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, and this chemical is banned in some countries.[7]

    Should I worry about Glyphosate contamination in my dog’s peanut butter? Our research found that popular brands use peanuts contaminated with glyphosa e. Here is a certificate of analysis on Skippy Natural Peanut Butter with Honey issued by the Health Research Institu e. They found that Skippy Natural Peanut Butter with Honey contained 11.71 ng/g of glyphosa e. This is another reason peanut butter can be bad for dogs.[8]
  • Unbalanced om gas. Peanuts have an unbalanced ratio of omega-6 fatty acids relative to ome a-3. Some studies suggest that this may increase inflammation and the risk of chronic disease.[9]  

Possible Side Effects & Risks of Peanut Butter In Dogs

The following symptoms may indicate a bad reaction to peanut butter. Keep an eye of for them and contact your vet if necessary.

  • Discomfort and bloating
  • Gas
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Dog Peanut Butter Allergy

Are dogs allergic to peanut butter? They could, but peanut butter allergies rarely happen in dogs.

If allergies occur, they may result from your dog being allergic to peanuts or reacting to one or more ingredients in peanut butter, such as xylitol. Sometimes allergies will result in facial swelling, skin reactions, anaphylactic shock, difficulty breathing, vomiting, hives, and rashes, among other symptoms. Call your vet immediately if your dog is experiencing these symptoms after giving it peanut butter.

We suggest you do an at-home allergy dog allergy test before giving your dog peanut butter to help you find out if your pup is sensitive or intolerant to this food or any other foods for that matter.

best at home dog allergy test

Can Puppies Eat Peanut Butter?

Is peanut butter okay for puppies? Yes, puppies can safely eat peanut butter, just make sure it’s the right kind and in moderation. Dr. Melanie, BVSC MS, says just be sure it does not contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Also, to prevent obesity, treats should make up no more than 10% of the total daily calories.

Can Dogs Eat Human Peanut Butter?

While most regular or “human” peanut butter brands are not safe for dogs, few exceptions exist. Why can’t dogs eat human peanut butter depends on the ingredients.

If you have traditional peanut butter sitting in your pantry and wonder if you should give it to your dog, read the label first and compare it to our unwanted list of dog food ingredients. The human peanut butter you find on the shelves will probably contain preservatives and extra sugar that aren’t great.

Our tip is to find those exceptions that are entirely free of additives and the rest of the harmful ingredients for dogs. For instance, this peanut butter made by Crazy Richard’s (or this one by Teddie) lists just one ingredient, “peanuts.” Your furry friend should be able to enjoy these kinds of human peanut butter safely.

At What Age Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

It’s advised to introduce any kind of treat (peanut butter) during the last weeks of the weaning process in puppies, completed by about seven to eight weeks of age. Veterinarian David Elbeze, DVM, MRCVS, recommends starting with treats at two months of age (8 weeks old).

Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Peanut Butter

There are a few reasons some dogs should abstain from eating peanut butter.

Dogs at risk of pancreatitis should avoid peanut butter altogether. Pancreatitis can be onset by high-fat foods, like peanut butter. Pancreatitis is more common in some breeds such as cavalier King Charles spaniels, Collies, miniature schnauzers, and Yorkshire terriers. If you own any breeds, speak with your veterinarian before giving dogs peanut butter.

If your dog is taking any medication, call your vet to see if it’s prudent to feed him peanut butter. Some health conditions may require your dog to avoid certain foods, and peanut butter can be one of them.

Dog Eating Peanut Butter Video

Watch these dogs eating peanut butter! The joy on their faces is priceless, lol!

Dog & Peanut Butter Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to other frequently asked questions about dogs and peanut butter.

Is Peanut Butter Safe For Dogs? — Conclusion

Can dogs eat peanut butter safely? Yes, peanut butter is safe for dogs as long as you pick the correct type of peanut butter that doesn’t have all the harmful ingredients that may cause harm to your pet!

We put a lot of effort and time into researching everything about peanut butter and dogs because, as dog parents, we know how important keeping our dogs safe is.

There is a new kind of peanut butter in the market that uses CBD oil for dogs that is worth looking into. CBD-infused dog peanut butter has remarkable remarkable health benefits.

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Canine Bible uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

[1] DAG Toxicity Study, Vets Now [2] PetMD, [3], SOS [4] NC State Veterinary Medicine, [5] National Peanut Board, [6] National Pesticide Information, [7] Science Direct: Glyphosate , [8] Health Research Institute [9] PubMed

Editorial Team at Canine Bible | + posts

Canine Bible authorship represents the unified voice of our entire editorial team rather than a single author. Each article, blog post, and review published under the Canine Bible name undergoes a rigorous review process, involving all team members to guarantee accuracy and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research. This collaborative effort is an integral part of our editorial process and aligns with our four pillars of content creation. This approach ensures our content is backed by expert knowledge and factual information, offering our readers reliable, actionable, and trustworthy content.

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